Hollywood Park is perhaps Southern California's most "urban" racetrack, located near LAX, smack dab in the middle of bustling Los Angeles County. The central location offers a track experience of unconventional beauty: Jetliners soar over the park like sleek birds as they approach LAX, and on a clear day, you can see the downtown Los Angeles skyline. People aren't allowed in the track's infield, which has a golf course or wetlands quality to it, with two large lakes where flamingos and other birds roost. Since its June 10, 1938, opening (when the legendary Seabiscuit won the inaugural Hollywood Park Gold Cup), the park has gone through some ups and downs, including suspension of racing during World War II and a devastating 1949 fire that closed the track for a year. But a $20 million reconstruction project in the early 1990s restored the track to its early glory. The track offers amenities for all levels of racing fans, from the Turf Club to the grandstand. So you can enjoy a casually comfortable, leisurely afternoon at this conveniently located track. (Iris Yokoi)
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